Officials: Statue hung at UMC was a prank
A prank. Not a racial statement. That was the conclusion of Crookston police and University of Minnesota-Crookston officials Saturday after a male student admitted to hanging a statue painted to depict a person of color from a campus building. Th...
A prank. Not a racial statement.
That was the conclusion of Crookston police and University of Minnesota-Crookston officials Saturday after a male student admitted to hanging a statue painted to depict a person of color from a campus building.
The student confessed while being questioned by police and high-ranking UMC administrators, said Andrew Svec, director of communications.
The university's student conduct committee, composed of students, faculty and administrators, will meet to determine any disciplinary action. Crookston police Chief Tim Motherway declined comment until Monday, but Svec said criminal charges won't be filed.
Peter Phaiah, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, said the incident was the result of "incredibly poor judgment" but was not racially motivated. The 3-foot wooden figure, which is carved and painted in the likeness of a person of color, was hung by its torso from the student center. The sculpture belongs to another student who received it as a gift from a family member. The student said he hung the statue as a prank on the statue's owner.
"The student did not take into consideration the implications of what he believed was a harmless prank," Phaiah said. "On the contrary, the students, faculty and staff on campus see this as anything but funny."
UMC Chancellor Charles Casey said the school can use the incident as a teachable moment to continue discussion on sensitivity and respect.
"We work to create an environment on campus where everyone can feel comfortable no matter where they are from or what their cultural background is," Casey said. "Appreciation for diversity and respect for others are among our core values, and we make it a priority to nurture such attributes in our students.
"It's a great disappointment to hear of something like this on campus -- no matter what was intended."
Because of privacy laws, the student's name was not released.
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